Today, EU transport ministers adopted a comprehensive set of Council conclusions which will lay down the framework for an ambitious EU external aviation policy for the coming years.
Based on the European Commission's recent Communication "The EU's external aviation policy – addressing future challenges", the Council has called for stronger coordination, unity and solidarity at EU level and for a more robust EU external aviation policy in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aviation industry while supporting the interests of European consumers.
Global aviation is changing dramatically and Europe has been harder hit by the recession than many other regions. The actions proposed by the Commission and endorsed by the Council will help boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by opening negotiations with key partners to access new business opportunities in fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment.
Key measures to strengthen road safety and save lives have been put at risk by an agreement by transport ministers meeting today in Brussels. Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. EU transport ministers today agreed on a text which would water down key elements of Commission proposals for new rules to toughen up the current testing regime and widen its scope.
The agreement by ministers today would substantially weaken the proposed new rules, by (a) removing motorcycles and other two-wheelers, the most vulnerable group of road users from the scope of mandatory regular testing; (b) removing proposals for increased frequency of technical checks for older vehicles – the highest risk vehicles on the road; (c) weakening proposed measures to reduce mileage manipulation.
Ministers have backed measures with regard to two things: strengthened cross-border mutual recognition, and higher quality and harmonisation of testing, with minimum requirements on training, on equipment, on assessing deficiencies, on technical vehicle information and on supervision of testing.
Technical defects contribute heavily to accidents. They are responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly. 8% of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects. Moreover, many technical defects with serious implications for safety (such as ABS and electronic stability control) are not even checked under current rules. Existing EU rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks date back to 1977, with only minor updates. Cars, driver behaviour and technology have developed a lot since then.
The EU and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) signed today in the margin of the Transport Council a high-level agreement. The agreement will provide a general framework for cooperation and will allow the Commission to make use of the know-how and the expertise of Eurocontrol to speed up the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES). The main goal is achieving an optimal and integrated Air Traffic Management (ATM) network, offering a high degree of safety, cost-efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, for the benefit of passengers and citizens.
The European Commission proposed today new rules for the better protection of air passengers, aiming to achieve a decreased number of aircraft accidents and fatalities through a better use of data on occurrences. An occurrence is any type of event significant in the context of aviation safety which might or might not have resulted in an actual accident but which merits being collected and analysed. In addition, the new rules would promote a more efficient exchange of information between Member States. This legislative proposal is the core element of the future European Aviation Safety System which aims to shift Europe towards a proactive and evidence based safety system, i.e. a system that attempts to foresee and prevent accidents based on the collection and analysis of data, rather than simply reacting after accidents.
By the end of the year new EU rules to better care for passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway will be protected by a set of minimum rights anywhere within the European Union. As from 31 December, passengers travelling by sea will have the right to claim compensation for loss or damage in the event of accidents.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas called today on the 44 Director-Generals representatives of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) for full engagement on the implementation of the Single European Sky, and for a positive cooperation between ECAC and the EU.
The European Parliament voted today on proposed measures to help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. In its vote on the "airports package" the Parliament gave strong support for the Commission's proposals to improve slot allocation as well as to improve the transparency of noise decisions. The Parliament referred the proposals on ground handling back to the Parliamentary Committee for further consideration.
Airport package – Speech to European Parliament Plenary debate
The European Parliament will next week debate and vote on a comprehensive package of proposed measures to help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. The proposed measures address the quality of services passengers and airlines receive on the ground before they take off and after they land (for example, baggage handling, check-in, refuelling), the transparency of decisions on airport noise, as well as the efficiency of the complex network of take-off and landing slots that make up every journey. The debate is scheduled for Tuesday 11th December afternoon, vote Wednesday 12th December.
Speech by Vice-President Siim Kallas at the Conference on fair and efficient road pricing, Brussels
Bridging transport’s financing gap: fair charging for the road ahead
The European Commission has adopted today the 20th update of the European list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union, better known as "the EU air safety list". Because of important safety concerns, air carriers certified in Eritrea have been added to the list. On the other hand, following improvement in the safety situation in Mauritania, it was possible to remove from the list all air carriers certified in Mauritania. The same was true for the Jordan carrier Jordan Aviation, which was also removed from the list. Progress was also noted in Libya but the Libyan authorities agreed that Libyan carriers would not be permitted to operate to Europe until they are fully recertified to the satisfaction of the Commission.
Single European Sky: Member States fail to reach key deadline to achieve more efficient European airspace
Many Member States are seriously lagging behind and not yet fully compliant with requirements to make nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) fully operational, for the deadline of 4 December 2012. A critical deadline has been missed for FABs, the regional airspace blocks which are a key element for the ambitious plans to create a single European airspace – tripling European airspace capacity and halving air traffic control costs. The Commission warned today that it will launch infringement procedures against Member States for all the Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) which are not yet fully compliant with all legal requirements. It will also present a new package of legislative measures in Spring 2013 to accelerate reforms and ensure the full delivery of a Single European Sky.
Speech by Vice-President Siim Kallas at the European Conference on Future Transport Fuels 2012, Brussels
Future fuels: a clean and green opportunity for European transport
Speech by Vice-President Siim Kallas at the Transport Business Summit, Brussels
Does Transport Matter?
Within the framework of its Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign, the European Commission today announced the 20 winning actions set to receive up to EUR 7000 each in financial support. This money will be used to further the activities of the winning initiatives promoting sustainable urban mobility.
Today the European Commission has formally asked Spain to clarify how airport charges have been modified at airports operated by AENA Aeropuertos. The decision to send a letter of formal notice has been taken following the reception of several complaints asserting that the European Directive on airport charges has not been respected.
The European Commission decided today to amend its decision referring Cyprus to the European Court of Justice for not fully transposing the Directive on driving licences.
Today, the European Commission adopted technical changes to the Directive on driving licences in order to provide more flexibility and a smoother transition to the new driving licence regime. The amendment aims to avoid unnecessary administrative burden to citizens or industry. There are around 300 million European citizens having a driving licence, most of them will be concerned about this new Directive.
Today Vice-President and Commissioner for transport Siim Kallas joins the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in celebrating their 10th anniversary. He stated: "EASA has become an indispensable part of the European aviation safety system. I congratulate all those who have contributed to achieve such outstanding results. W e must now focus on maintaining and improving this excellent record. Aviation safety deserves to be a priority in the European policy agenda, and I count on EASA continuing to play a key role for the years to come ." EASA has calculated that in the past ten years the rate of fatal accidents per 10 million flights within its flying zone has improved significantly. European citizens now enjoy one of the safest aviation sectors in the world. For more information please see the EASA website.
Less than two weeks ahead of the special European Council of 22-23 November on the future EU budget 2014-2020, business leaders express strong support for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in a video clip, produced by the European Commission. Top-level representatives from Ericsson, RATP, EirGrid, Telekomunikacja Polska, HSBC, Alstom, General Electric, IBM, Airbus ProSky and GDF-Suez as well as the International Energy Agency and the Prime Minister of Estonia leave no doubt about the need for better interconnections in Europe in transport, energy and the internet to enhance Europe's growth and competitiveness, about the need for European action through the CEF and about the strong potential to leverage private finance through this 50 billion initiative. The appeal comes at a time when substantial reductions affecting the CEF are getting more likely in the ongoing negotiations on the future budget.
The Commission takes note with satisfaction of the political agreement reached on new smart tachographs in today's Transport Council. The main goals of the new legislation are creating equal conditions between road transport operators, avoiding road accidents due to long driving hours and reducing the administrative burden for operators by providing the professional drivers with a smart and tamper-proof tool which ensures a uniform enforcement of the social rules and can easily be used and connected to an on-board computer.
Vice-President and EU Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, said: "The tachograph helps professional drivers to avoid over long driving hours which cause fatigue and accidents. It also creates equal conditions between road transport operators. I would like to insist on the importance of quickly introducing the smart tachograph proposed by the Commission. It will prevent fraud and misuse of the existing tachograph system and at the same time make it considerably easier to use for operators."
The smart tachograph proposed by the Commission will record location data using global navigation satellite systems, remotely communicate with roadside enforcement officers and have a universal interface to communicate with applications of intelligent transport systems used by the transport operators. The regulation proposal also introduces higher standards for workshops entrusted to install and calibrate the tachograph, electronic exchange of data between national enforcement authorities, provisions on the training of control officers and exceptions from the obligation to use tachographs for certain users within a uniformly extended radius (100 km).
The discussions in view of an early second reading agreement between the European Parliament and Council have already started, and the Commission hopes that a deal could be found within the next months.
For more information:
The European Commission takes note of the agreement reached on the newly proposed Airports Slots Regulation in today's Transport Council Agreement. The agreement, in the form of "General Approach", has been found on a text significantly departing from the original that the Commission proposed. In the Commission view, despite the best efforts of the Presidency and all delegations, the text agreed upon by the Council lacks ambition and needed more time for cautious consideration. The new Airports Slot Regulation has important economic implications for the whole aviation chain and is a key element of the airports package.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The issue at stake is of the highest importance. Airports are getting busier and busier. For some of them, congestion is already a real problem and there will be further capacity shortages in the next few years. It is a problem that increases costs, to the detriment of consumers; it is a problem that harms reliability, to the detriment of anyone wanting to fly. This cannot be allowed for any reason. I therefore hope that the final legislation will be more ambitious than the agreement found in Council today."
The general objective of the Commission proposal is to ensure that the allocation and use of airport slots in congested airports is effective, also by enhancing fair competition and competitiveness between operators. The scarcity of slots and the level of congestion are factors influencing airlines' decisions as to which destinations they serve and may therefore negatively impact the connectivity of regions to such airports, which are generally located near to large economic centres: capital cities, industrial centres. The reality is that infrastructure will not keep up with the increase in demand for air travel. The Commission proposal would allow airports to accommodate 24 million more passengers at EU airports in the light of the expected increase in demand.
After the "General Approach" the text will be considered in first reading by the European Parliament before going back to Council.
The EU's Council of transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday 29 October under the Presidency of Cyprus and will be chaired by Minister Florentzou.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will represent the European Commission in the discussion on Airport slots, Roadworthiness tests, the Maritime Labour Convention, Tachograph, EU/Eurocontrol agreement. Furthermore the Commission will inform the Council on the latest developments of the inclusion of aviation in the European Emission Trading System (ETS) and the deterioration of relations with Russia, particularly regarding aviation.
Transport: Commission welcomes agreement by Transport ministers on Directives ensuring decent working conditions for seafarers
The European Commission welcomes the agreement adopted on two proposals relating to the enforcement of the International Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) of 2006 in today's Transport Council. Approved as "General Approach", the agreement has its origins in the two proposals submitted by the Commission last 23 March 2012. These new Directives will guarantee important social benefits for the seafarers, and are essential to support the growth and the prosperity of the maritime industry in Europe.
The EU Commissioner responsible for transport, Vice-President Siim Kallas, stated: "Today's agreement is a step in the right direction on monitoring the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention in the European Union. The two Directives are set to become precious instruments to help ensure decent working conditions for seafarers worldwide and to achieve a global level-playing field for shipping in this field."
The port state proposal intends to enforce the MLC by means of port State control. Compliance with the MLC would therefore be checked and enforced in all EU ports on ships flying any flag in the same way as for any other maritime convention. This will be the most efficient means to ensure a global level-paying field for the shipping industry also with respect to seafarers' working conditions. The flag state proposal aims at requiring Member States to monitor the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention from ship's flying their own flag.
After the "General Approach" the two Directives will be considered in first reading by the European Parliament -in January or February 2013 regarding Directive on Port State control, and in February or March 2013 regarding Directive on Flag State responsibilities.
For more information:
EU citizens will have safer flights following today's publication of a new regulation with modernised binding rules for commercial operations of airplanes and helicopters. The previous regulation on commercial air operations was adopted in 2006. These updated rules reflect scientific and technological developments in the aviation industry and changes in international aviation standards since then. The aim of the regulation is to boost efficiency in air operations while maintaining a high level of safety. To achieve this, the new rules provide for a simple, risk-based process of certification and oversight; they reflect scientific and technological state of the art in the field of air operations, based on evidence worldwide; and they introduce proportionality with regard to the scale and complexity of operations – for example by distinguishing between different types of operations such as local or international flights. As a consequence of the new rules, airlines will not need to get re-certified every year and small businesses will be subject to lighter administrative procedures. The regulation also introduces the first EU-wide rules for helicopters to replace the various national ones existing today. This regulation enters into force three days following its publication. A two-year transitional period will allow for a flexible and smooth conversion to the new regime. See Regulation 965/2012 [6 MB]
The European Parliament adopted today a report by MEP Georges Bach calling for more EU action to strengthen passenger rights. The report stresses the need to make passenger rights easily understandable to all citizens, to facilitate their implementation and enforcement, and to ensure a similar approach for all modes of transport. The work of the European Parliament in the area of passenger rights, including the report it adopted on air passenger rights on 29 March 2012, gives support to the Commission’s ambitious agenda to promote better protection for passengers facing travel disruptions whether they travel by air, rail, waterborne or road transport. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Today's vote is extremely important for all EU citizens, as it promotes the most appropriate protection when travelling, regardless of which mode of transport is chosen. The Commission will keep working to make sure that EU legislation on passenger rights is properly and effectively applied".
The European Parliament adopted today a resolution to push forward implementation of the Single European Sky (SES), very much in line with the European Commission priorities. The Commission welcomes the support of the EP, especially at the time of key implementing deadlines and shares the views of rapporteur Jacqueline Foster that Member States should now prioritise the implementation of SES in accordance with the agreed deadlines and objectives. The EP reiterates the key role of SES in delivering considerable economic, safety and environmental savings to the aviation sector's benefit. It calls for a proactive political support on the part of the Member State applying the performance scheme, delivering real benefits from FABs and deploying SESAR technologies. The SES legislation, which aims at reducing the fragmentation of the European airspace and increasing its capacity, entered into force in April 2004 (SES I); it was amended by a second package of legislation adopted in November 2009 (SES II). A report issued by the Commission in November 2011 makes clear that the basic SES II architecture has been established according to the initial time schedule but that the objectives have not yet been fully reached. Failure to implement the SES costs € 5 billion annually in inefficiencies for air navigation services. For further details: Single European Sky, 10 years on and still not delivering and Frequently asked questions.
The European Parliament approved today the legislative proposal which will bring the European Union Directive on the training of seafarers in line with recently updated international rules. The legislative proposal also aims to ensure that information concerning seafarers is collected, aggregated and made available for statistical purposes. Today, accurate figures in this respect are lacking. The Commission adopted its proposal on 14 September 2011 and a political agreement in Council was already reached in December last year. International rules set minimum standards, while EU rules ensure their enforcement in the EU. European and international legislation are important to ensure quality jobs and safety at sea. Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, said: "I am glad the European Parliament swiftly responded to the need to adapt to the new international framework. These new rules reflect the evolution of technology and the challenges of the last decade". The amended EU provisions fully respect the EU set of rules on working time for seafarers. The proposal also sets out the legal framework for a database on seafarers employed on EU ships, which will allow for more accurate data in this respect.
European Parliament rail conference
VP Kallas speech at EP, Brussels
The Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace – tripling capacity and halving air traffic costs – is "not delivering". Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for transport, today announced his intention to present new legislative proposals in Spring 2013 to accelerate implementation, as well as taking all enforcement actions possible, including infringements where necessary.
The Aviation Platform set up to give strategic advice to Vice President Kallas in order to establish the basis for a sustainable future for air transport met for the fifth time on 8 October. The top-level representatives of the different branches of the aviation sector gave their input in order to prepare the High Level Single European Sky (SES) Conference which will take place in Limassol on 11-12 October. During this meeting Tom Enders, CEO of EADS reported on the recent adoption of the ACARE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. The Members also discussed the Communication on the EU's external aviation policy adopted on 27th of September. The dinner following the platform was dedicated to an open discussion on ETS.
Joint Statement by Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard: MRV is the necessary starting point to address maritime emissions
"Shipping is a global industry and needs global solutions to address its environmental footprint. As a result, we are all working towards an internationally agreed global solution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The International Maritime Organisation made a significant and highly welcome step forward in July 2011 with the Energy Efficiency Design Index. But this measure alone – which is applied only to new ships from 2015 – will not be enough to ensure shipping emissions are reduced fast enough. Discussions about further global measures are on-going at IMO level, but we need intermediary steps to quickly deliver emissions reductions, such as energy efficiency measures also for existing ships.
At EU level, we consider several options, including market-based mechanisms. A simple, robust and globally-feasible approach towards setting a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions based on fuel consumption is the necessary starting point. This will help make progress at global level and feed into the IMO process. It's therefore our joint intention to pursue such a monitoring, reporting and verification system in early 2013. At the same time, we will continue the debate with stakeholders on which measure can successfully address the EU's greenhouse gas reduction objectives.
The shipping industry itself is best placed to take the lead in delivering fast and effective greenhouse gas emission reductions – thereby cutting cost and making the sector fit for the future. The Commission is ready to play its part, in the EU and at IMO level."
[MRV stands for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification]
The European Commission and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have common goals to pursue and will keep up and strengthen a cooperation that has already proved to be fruitful in the past. This emerged from the meeting today in London between Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, and IMO's Secretary General Koji Sekimizu. Among the issues discussed were the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in shipping; sustainable development proposals, anti-piracy measures; passenger ship safety initiatives; and container vessel safety. Vice-President Kallas said that by working together both organisations would be able to make significant progress in their respective policy goals, therefore contact and exchanges of views between IMO and the different Commission services should be further encouraged.
Global aviation is changing dramatically and Europe has been harder hit by the recession than many other regions. The European Commission has today set out an ambitious package of proposals to boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by opening negotiations with key partners to access new business opportunities in the fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment.
Speech by Vice President Siim Kallas at the Conference on the fourth railway package
Decision makers, business leaders, representatives of railway passengers and workers will meet in Brussels on Monday 24 September to discuss the forthcoming railway package, before the Commission adopts its proposals at the end of the year. The discussion will cover the latest thinking on measures to open domestic passenger rail markets to competition, to reduce the time-to-market of the rolling stock and to set up optimal rail infrastructure managers. At the conference Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas will be joined by members of the European Parliament, ministers and other high-level representatives as well as more than 300 participants. The conference programme includes a debate on how the railway industry contributes to growth in Europe and specific sessions devoted to the three pillars of the forthcoming measures. These three pillars are: revising the role of supervision of the European Railway Agency; setting up optimal infrastructure managers; and opening up the domestic passenger rail markets.
More information: http://www.railsconference2012.eu/
InnoTrans 2012 Berlin
VP Kallas speech at CoR, Brussels
The future of mobility in our cities is being discussed today at a conference where Vice-President Siim Kallas will be joined by representatives from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, and will meet with key stakeholders. The European Commission will announce the launch of a public consultation, giving citizens and all interested parties the opportunity to contribute to the future development of the EU's urban transport policy. The event also marks the tenth anniversary of the Civitas Initiative – the European Commission's city-led research programme.
Aviation security: the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) move to enhance co-operation
The EU and ICAO today made a pledge towards closer co-operation in aviation security, on the occasion of a high-level conference in Montreal. The conference addresses important issues concerning global civil aviation security. The two parties are seeking further cooperation within the framework of a Memorandum of Cooperation that entered into force earlier this year (see IP/11/540).
International rules and policies drawn up by ICAO translate into EU legislation and policy, particularly in the domain of aviation security. As such, it is important for the EU to engage effectively in ICAO's activities in order to contribute to defining approaches which apply to the global market place in which Europe's air transport industry operates.
Speech by Henrik Hololei, Head of Cabinet for Vice-President Siim Kallas
The European Commission has warned that Member States will need to do more to ensure that the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) deployment is on track. The EU decided in 2004 to implement EETS in order to reduce the hassle for truckers and, later, for all road users by facilitating toll payments across the European Union by means of a single on-board unit and a single service contract. This will result in fewer cash transactions at toll stations and the elimination of cumbersome procedures for cross-border users, thereby improving traffic flow and reducing congestion. European interoperability will reduce the cost of future tolling equipment.
Commission today launched the EU’s first award to encourage the adoption of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) by local and regional authorities. Under the inaugural theme "stakeholder and citizen participation", local and regional authorities can submit their applications for the award of EUR 10 000 on www.dotherightmix.eu.
Road crashes are still the biggest cause of death and disability for young people, in both the world and Europe. 19% of road fatalities in the EU in 2010 affected young people aged between 18-25 years old (although this age group comprise only 10% of the total population). This means that those aged between 18-25 face almost twice as high a risk of dying in traffic accidents. The European Commission is therefore dedicating its 4th European Road Safety Day to young people. The day is marked by a conference, jointly organised with the Cyprus Presidency, which will takes place on 25 July in Nicosia. The conference brings together youth groups, road safety organisations and road safety officials from all EU Member States, as well as from neighbouring countries for a day of discussions, presentations and workshops.
Air traffic: Commission approves national performance plans to reduce costs and increase capacity in the provision of air traffic management services
The European Commission has written to Member States concerning the performance plans to improve air traffic management under the period 2012-2014 of the Single European Sky Performance Scheme. The scheme is expected to save billions of Euros to the benefit of airspace users and passengers in these three years. The Commission today announced that the plans are accepted as broadly in line with legally established European Union-wide targets, but has also adopted recommendations to Member States for further improvements.
Aviation: Assessment of the situation in respect of the screening of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) at EU airports
The European Commission today adopted its assessment on the screening of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) at EU airports. The assessment is based on results of trials carried out at a number of EU airports and on extensive consultations with a wide group of stakeholders, it takes stock of the present situation and recommends a way forward in respect of LAGs screening at European airports. The risk posed by liquid explosives to civil aviation is still significant and Liquid Explosive Detection Systems manufacturers have made considerable progress in recent years to develop instruments which can adequately address this risk. The Commission's assessment indicates that the removal of the LAGs restrictions on April 2013, as currently envisaged in EU law, could present a considerable operational risk mainly due to the scale of the change. Faced with security and operational risks and the need to safeguard passenger interests, a phased approach will be necessary to introduce the screening of LAGs. Starting in January 2014, the Commission recommends that passengers should be able to carry on board all duty free LAGs provided that they are screened. In the light of the experience gained and in close cooperation with its European and international partners, the Commission will then bring forward proposals for subsequent phases to achieve the final objective of screening all LAGs at the earliest possible date. To implement these recommendations, the Commission will bring forward proposals to amend the existing legislation on LAGs in Autumn 2012, with the agreement of the Member States and the European Parliament.
On 16 and 17 July 2012, the transport and telecommunications ministers will meet in an informal council in Nicosia to discuss how to optimise the use of information and communications technologies for transport. Ministers will review means to lift existing barriers to the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the EU. The focus is on access to transport-related "open data", on tools for planning and integrated ticketing for journeys across Europe using various transport modes, and on the deployment of intelligent systems and services on the trans-European transport (TEN-T) network and in European cities.
Vice-President Siim Kallas said: "We need to develop European multimodal journey planners and other ITS applications in Europe. To make the best use of all existing transport modes and infrastructure, we need to ensure the availability, accessibility and exchange of all relevant information, such as schedules, capacity, and paths. The Commission will put forward ideas to support the private sector in developing multimodal transport planning and information services across Europe. This will allow new services like route planners or smart reservation and payment to spread for both passengers and freight, going beyond national borders and offering alternative transport modes."
Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. So today the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the testing regime and widen its scope.
Regulators and Stakeholders intensify co-operation to remove restrictions on carry-on liquids at EU/US airports
As a further sign of good transatlantic cooperation on aviation security and shared interest with business and stakeholders, the European Commission's Directorate General for Mobility and Transport and the United States' Transportation Security Administration (TSA), together with the main European and American aviation stakeholders (airlines, airports, retail associations and liquids equipment manufacturers), signed today a joint statement. This confirms their intention cooperate towards the screening of liquids aerosols and gels (LAGs) at EU/US airports. Based on a roadmap, the sides intend to find a comprehensive risk-based security solution which will facilitate the lifting of the restrictions to LAGs as soon as practical, maintaining security and facilitating passengers and trade in international civil aviation.
Speech by Henrik Hololei, Head of Cabinet for Vice-President Siim Kallas
European Civil Aviation Conference
One of the greatest challenges facing the EU is how best to design and adapt cities into smart intelligent and sustainable environments. Almost three quarters of Europeans live in cities, consuming 70% of the EU's energy. Congestion costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year; most of it is located in urban areas. Smart urban technologies can make a major contribution to tackling many urban challenges.
Passengers stranded at airports or awaiting missing luggage may now use a smartphone application to check their rights immediately and on the spot. Just in time for the summer holidays, the European Commission has launched an application for smartphones which covers air and rail transport and works on four mobile platforms: Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The app is available in 22 EU languages. It currently covers air and rail transport and will be extended to bus / coach and marine travel in 2013 when these rights come into force.
Transport: Vice President Kallas welcomes European Parliament final agreement on new rules to open competition in the rail market
New EU rules to allow more competition on the rail market look set to come into force by the end of this year, following a final vote of approval in the European Parliament today. The new rules (Rail Recast Directive) tackle 3 major problems on the market: (1) strengthening the power of national regulators; e; (2) improving the framework for investment in rail (3) ensuring fair access to rail infrastructure and rail related services. They are a direct response to many complaints from operators in recent years.
The European Commission’s Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign was launched today and represents a three-year initiative aiming to support sustainable urban mobility campaigners in 31 countries. Activities began today with the opening of a registration system to support outstanding actions for fostering positive change in attitudes and behaviour.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas responsible for transport met today with top-level representatives of the European transport and logistics sector. The occasion was the launch meeting of the High Level Group on Logistics (HLGL), set up to provide strategic advice on the future transport policy measures with impact on logistics.
VP Kallas speech at Third Transatlantic Aviation Issues Conference, Brussels
VP Kallas Speech at 6th European Cruise Council Conference, Brussels
In the framework of the EU-Moldova Cooperation Council, the Republic of Moldova and the European Union have today signed a comprehensive air services agreement which will make Moldova a full partner of the EU in aviation by gradually integrating into the European common market.
Gradual opening of domestic road transport markets should be considered as a key step towards completing the Single European Transport Area says a report handed over to Vice-President Kallas today. In June 2011, a High Level Group of academics was mandated to draft a report on the situation of the EU road haulage market. The High Level Group considers that allowing a step-by-step opening of the market will increase the flexibility of operations and competition in national markets, whilst ensuring fair competition and maintaining adequate social norms. The Commission will take into consideration these conclusions in its own report on the situation of the EU road haulage market, to be published in 2013.
VP Kallas Speech at German Transport Forum event in EP, Brussels
Vice-President Kallas, EU Commissioner responsible for Transport, has today provided the European Parliament and Council with an interpretation of the Directive on weights and dimensions of road vehicles and the conditions to be met when adjacent Member States wish to authorise longer trucks to cross the border between them.
Many disabled and reduced mobility air travellers still face problems of unjustified refusals, and other unfair demands when attempting to travel. As thousands of disabled Paralympians and spectators prepare to travel to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commission has published[99 KB] to clarify their rights when travelling by air.
A new rail link connecting the Brussels Airport with the high-speed rail network to Paris/Amsterdam/London/Köln will be inaugurated tomorrow. The new link will allow high-speed trains to stop at the airport on their way to Brussels or Antwerp, giving passengers more flexibility in their travel choices and improving connections between rail and air transport. The project – called Diabolo – has so far received almost €9.7 million in trans-European transport network (TEN-T) co-financing.
Vice-President Siim Kallas has welcomed the efforts of the Danish Presidency and the outcome of today's Transport Council in Luxembourg. Ministers reached a partial general approach on the initiative known as the "Connecting Europe Facility". "The establishment of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is one of the key initiatives of the Commission in the context of the proposed package for delivering sustainable growth and jobs", Mr Kallas said. There was also an agreement on some of the Commission proposals for better airports. There was already an agreement in the Council for groundhandling (on 22 March); today agreement has been reached on noise. Vice-President Kallas: "Transport ministers have been able to reach a general approach on this politically sensitive issue, which is an important step. Decisions on noise restrictions will remain clearly up to Member States, but I am also conscious of the impact of restrictions on the aviation network. So we have to ensure a process which is fair and which respects international rules."
The European Commission published yesterday a report on implementing the legislation known as "blind spot mirrors directive". Directive 2007/38 required the retrofitting of all existing lorries with mirrors aimed at reducing or eliminating blind spots. Blind spots are areas outside the driver's field of vision which are particularly important for the safety of motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The report shows that the number of fatalities resulting from accidents involving heavy good vehicles and motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians has been effectively reduced following the retrofitting of blind spot mirrors.
The European Commission and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have agreed to recognise each other's air cargo security regimes from 1 June 2012 on. This recognition will eliminate duplication of security controls and the need to implement different regimes depending on the destination of air cargo. It will substantially cut cargo operators' costs and save time.
“ We are getting rid of duplication of security controls, while preserving high levels of security. This is a big step forwards and it will have a major business impact. Air freight is by definition naturally urgent. Cutting out the duplication of security procedures will mean huge savings for cargo operators in terms of time and money ." said Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for transport.
Routes Europe 2012
VP Kallas speech in Karabük, Turkey
The Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, Siim Kallas visited Ankara to enhance transport cooperation between the EU and Turkey. In line with the Commission "positive agenda", Vice-President Kallas discussed the establishment of a roadmap for EU transport relations with Turkey, including regular high-level meetings and the establishment of a structured dialogue with Turkish authorities.
The European Commission has today issued guidelines warning that under EU law road charging schemes must not discriminate against foreign drivers. The aim is to assist Member States who are considering introducing new charging schemes for private cars.
Vice-President Siim Kallas said: "Non-discrimination is a fundamental right under EU law. It must be as easy for a French or British citizen to drive across Slovenia or Belgium as it is for a resident driver. Road charging systems must be transparent and fair to all."
European Sea Ports Conference
Importance of ports for economic recovery and jobs
Sea ports play an important role facilitating the European Union's external trade (90% of the total, in terms of weight) and internal market exchanges (40% of the total). They provide a service to many other industrial sectors and are nodal points of inter-modal logistic chains of key importance for the sustainable growth of transport in Europe.
European ports are also important job generators. At EU level, the extent of the employment effects of port activity (direct, indirect, induced and related activities) represents million of jobs [2 MB] and a significant contribution to economic growth (GDP).
In the perspective of the economic recovery, there is a question of ensuring that economic growth and the creation of jobs are not hampered by constraints in ports and in the links to and from them. Good port services are of key importance for reinforcing the competitiveness of European export companies in world markets.
However, the development of ports and the integration of ports in wider logistic chains remain uneven at European level. Some European ports are important generators of added value and employment at the local, regional, national and even European levels. They serve hinterland areas that go far beyond national boundaries. Some other ports are lagging behind in terms of efficient use of available facilities, reliability in the handling of freight and passenger's services and contribution to sustainable transport effort.
The disparities of performance between different European ports affect the distribution of cargo flows and on the organisation of logistic chains across Europe.
Poor-performing ports represent a missed opportunity – and wasted resources – for the creation of added value and jobs for the concerned regions. Moreover, ports are key nodal points of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). Poor-performing ports represent a problem for the smooth functioning of the whole network.
Hearing of the TRAN committee on the TEN-T guidelines
Speech delivered by Vice-President Siim Kallas at the hearing of the TRAN committee on the TEN-T guidelines
European Transport Safety Council, Drink Driving Seminar
Passenger Ship Safety Stakeholder Conference
Vice-President Siim Kallas gave the keynote speech at the Drink Driving Seminar organised by the European Transport Safety Council (ETCS). The Commissioner reiterated the importance of working together with stakeholders and Member States to reduce road fatalities, at a time when the rate of decline in road deaths in Europe has slowed down markedly. He particularly condemned drink driving practices which remain a major killer on EU roads.
Ladies and gentlemen
Each year, European roads are the scene of an unacceptable number of fatalities.
Last month we received the latest annual figures for 2011.
They give me particular cause for concern because the rate of decline in road deaths in Europe has slowed down markedly.
This is a worrying change in the trend, given our previous successes in getting the numbers down.
But a trend that has not yet changed is that drink driving remains a major killer on our roads today.
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, today set out the Commission's priorities for passenger ship safety. The keynote speech was delivered at a major passenger ship safety conference in Brussels, hosted by the Commission, to launch a consultation with stakeholders on the priority actions to come.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Tragic accidents, from the Titanic, to the Estonia or the Costa Concordia, put ship safety in the spotlight. There are always lessons to learn from such disasters. But we are not just waiting for the next accident to happen. It would be foolhardy merely to respond after the event. The EU has the toughest ship safety rules in the world and this is the result of a process of continuous improvements, proactive and preventative measures to raise maritime safety standards."
Speech by Henrik Hololei, Head of Vice President Siim Kallas' Cabinet
ERA Regional Airline Conference
More than 20 national signalling and speed control systems now operate in Europe. Unfortunately, they are not mutually compatible. These technical inefficiencies are a major barrier to the rapidly growing market in rail freight, where the greatest potential comes from cross-border traffic. They are also holding back the development of the wider European transport network.
The European Commission has adopted today the 19th update of the European list of air carriers which are for safety reasons subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. Conviasa, an air carrier certified in Venezuela, was added to the list due to safety concerns. Following constructive consultations, Libyan authorities decided to adopt strong measures applicable to all air carriers licensed in Libya, which exclude them from flying into the EU until at least November 2012.
Progress in cutting road fatalities significantly slowed last year (to -2%) compared with a very promising EU-wide reduction throughout the last decade (on average -6%), according to new figures published today by the European Commission. Worse still, some EU Member States, like Germany and Sweden, who have very strong safety records, now show a significant increase in deaths. In other Member States, like Poland and Belgium – already lagging behind in road safety – the number of deaths went up. The problem of motorcycles – where fatalities have still not fallen after more than a decade – still persists.
The European Commission is organising today and tomorrow an event concerning piracy and armed robbery. These acts are a serious threat not only to the lives of seafarers but to maritime transport as a whole. It is essential that all those concerned continue to act decisively and that the necessary measures are implemented systematically to prevent seamen from falling victim to such attacks and to protect the economy of the marine transport sector.
"In a letter sent last month, I have been asked by an industry organisation, the International Road Transport Union whether the cross-border use of longer trucks is forbidden by the current Directive. This is a complex issue.
The wording of certain articles is confusing. It is clear that the Directive allows Member States to go beyond the maximum dimensions, and to allow longer trucks on their territories, in particular vehicles using the modular concept. But the wording of the Directive is less straightforward when it comes to the cross-border use of such vehicles between consenting Member States, and to the conditions attached. Let us be frank: previous attempts of the Commission to provide explanations have failed to bring the legal and complete clarity needed. It seems to me that forbidding vehicles using the modular concept to cross borders between consenting Member States contributes no environmental benefit (strictly, a modular truck could be driven to one side of the border, un-coupled and taken across the border in two parts, and then re-coupled to continue the journey), but simply adds inconvenience by creating artificial obstacles at borders.. Thus, in the light of the IRU letter, I decided to carry out a more detailed analysis together with the Commission services to clarify the legal position.
Their conclusion is that the directive does not prohibit the cross-border use of longer trucks provided a number of conditions are respected.
The response I therefore intend to give to the IRU is that not only can Member States allow the use of longer vehicles for national transport, they can also allow the cross-border use of such longer vehicles, but only on a number of conditions. The first is that both Member States concerned must already permit the use of these vehicles within their borders. No Member State will have to accept longer trucks on its territory if it does not wish to."
Transport ministers today reached agreement on proposals to transform the existing patchwork of roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified European transport network. The proposed Regulation for Guidelines for Trans-European Networks (TEN-T) will remove cross-border bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross-border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "This is a very significant step forwards. Transport is the lifeblood of the European economy. And if it does not flow smoothly, our economy will weaken and fail to grow. Ministers have today given strong political backing for plans to build the strategic transport connections necessary to fuel Europe's future economic growth."
Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President with responsibility for transport, today welcomed Member States support for the Commission's proposal on the revision of current EU rules on groundhandling services.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Airports are facing a capacity crunch and three out of four flight delays are caused by problems on the ground, not in the air. There is an urgent need to improve the quality and efficiency of groundhandling services. The agreement today strikes the right balance between giving airlines more choice of quality service providers while strengthening protection for workers in what is a very labour-intensive sector."
Dear State Secretary Wathelet,
it was with shock and great sadness that I learned about the terrible coach accident in Switzerland last night in which so many people died. The shock is even greater as most of the victims are children.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. On my behalf and on behalf of the European Commission, let me extend our sincerest condolences and expressions of deepest sympathies to the victims of this tragic accident and to their families.
With my heartfelt sympathy,
Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Transport
Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for mobility and transport, announced today the winners of the first Smart Mobility Challenge on European multi-modal journey planners. In the category of 'operational journey planners' the two winners are Idos and Trenitalia, and in the category of 'innovative ideas' the winners are Penelope Ventures GmbH and SNCF. The initiative aimed to promote the development of all-in-one journey planners, going beyond national borders and offering travel options combining different transport modes.
Speech by Henrik Hololei on behalf of Vice President Siim Kallas at the 2nd IRU /EU Road Transport Conference
Today the European Commission hosts the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) Investment Forum to help attract investments into transport infrastructure between the EU and Central Asia. The high level conference brings together representatives of the international donor community and the countries in TRACECA to discuss potential funding for priority projects.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport, will officially visit Singapore from 13 to 15 February.
During his visit he will attend the Singapore Airshow and Aviation Leadership Summit 2012. Vice-President Kallas will meet Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew. The parties will sign an agreement on intelligent transport systems (ITS) that will allow the authorities in Singapore to co-operate with the European Commission in areas such as applying ITS solutions for land and urban transport. The EU Transport Commissioner and Minister Lui will also witness the signing of a second agreement between the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on aviation safety. At the same time, a third agreement will be signed between the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Joint Undertaking and the CAAS to explore ways to co-operate on air traffic management.
112 day: 74 % of Europeans don't know what emergency number to call when travelling in the EU. New campaign
Whether for skiing holidays, family days out, business travel or visits to this summer's sporting events, including the London Olympics or Euro 2012 UEFA football in Poland and Ukraine, millions of Europeans and visitors need access to emergency services in and outside their home country. Yet only 34% of regular travellers and 26% of all Europeans know that 112 is the single emergency number they can call, both in and outside their home country when in trouble.
Snow and extreme weather conditions, particularly record low temperatures, have been severely affecting different parts of Europe over the last week.
It has been a difficult time for the travelling public, as well as for the industry - airports, airlines and partners - trying to deliver a quality service to their passengers in these conditions.
Last year's performance was not good enough. I made it very clear that airports needed to raise their game and set out a series of areas where action was needed to ensure much better preparation by the aviation community for winter weather.
So how are we doing this year? It is still early days. We may have more extreme weather to come. But at this preliminary stage, we see "significant improvements" in particular in terms of the airports' winter snow preparedness.
Safety of passenger ships: EU Transport Commissioner receives commitment from Cruise industry to fully engage in review of passenger ship safety rules at EU and IMO
Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport today was briefed by the board of the European Cruise Council about cruise ship safety. Vice President Kallas announced that the Commission strongly supports a passenger ship safety review at IMO (International Maritime Organisation) to ensure that European citizens can expect state of the art safety measures in place - no matter where they board a passenger ship. The EU Transport Commissioner outlined the need for a twin-track approach with the IMO. Following its ongoing passenger ship safety review, the EU will either propose re-enforcing recent IMO standards or propose new EU minimum norms, some of which could form the basis for new IMO standards.
Faced with an economic crisis, investments in transport are critical for creating employment and a return to economic growth. This is the key message delivered in speech at the European Policy Centre in Brussels today by Siim Kallas, EU Transport Commissioner. "Tackling budget deficits and implementing austerity measures are not the only way to regain market confidence. Reviving growth must be part of the solution. And for this transport is crucial." In his speech Kallas focused on the key issue of transport financing and set out four major deliverables for 2012-2013, to get the conditions for transport financing right. The four deliverables are: the Connecting Europe Facility; ring-fencing money for East-West Connections; getting private sector finance into transport; and making transport more self-financing (looking at road tolling and infrastructure charging schemes.)
Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport has asked that the currently ongoing review of EU passenger ship safety legislation take fully into account any lessons to be learnt from the Costa Concordia tragedy. The review will prioritise, in particular, the issues of: design and stability of passenger ships, technological developments in the sector, crew training and safe operation, including emergency evacuation procedures. Vice-President Kallas will outline the Commission's position to the European Parliament's Transport Committee on Tuesday 24 January 2012.